It was a scab.
By chance, he was standing next to me at the bar. I tickled his elbow and he turned around.
"My girlfriend and I were taking bets on what happened to your leg."
"Ah." He angled his calf so I could see it in all of its glory. "I slid into base last week while wearing shorts."
I whistled in empathy.
"Yeah, it hurt. I was so afraid to get in the shower and wash it."
He was talking about being naked in front of me so soon after we began talking. Within three sentences he was naked. My face and chest flushed.
"But all it needs is soap and warm water," he continued. "Don't use alcohol or hydrodren peroxide when you slide into base."
I laughed, "Do I look like a girl that slides into base?" I had cut up my kickball t-shirt and created bows to cinch the sleeves. I was wearing bows. BOWS. Only a rhinestone bedazzler would have made my look complete. "One time I tripped over the first baseman and somersaulted over the base. The good news was that I knocked the ball out of his hands in the process, so I slapped the base with my hand and I was safe. That's the extent of my sliding career."
He gave a cursory laugh. Mr. Sports Illustrated didn't think it was as funny as I did.
"So it's not an AIDS lesion," he winked.
I shriveled up on the inside. I could feel my stomach and intestines being pulled into the center of my abdomen where they were being sucked into a black hole. Surely my physical being would follow.
"Yes. Um, sorry about that. I have an inappropriate sense of humor."
We chit chatted. He grew up in the neighboring suburb from me. He's a year younger. He's got that Georgia twang in his voice.
The band began to set up on stage. Lawyered took his cue and immediately left the bar. He has the same attitude as me. "Ugh, I hate that they have a band here on kickball night. The bar is best when it's just the league and everyone flits around all the tables and talks to everybody. As soon as the band sets up, people leave or are forced to vacate half the bar. I'm here to socialize, not listen to some jackass with a guitar and a bad Johnny Cash impersonation."
Mr. Sports Illustrated took a swig from his beer bottle. "Actually, I like going to bars to listen to music. Zac Brown got his start here, you know."
I hate that argument. Yes, we're home of Zac Brown and yes he's all kinds of amazing and yes I used to hear him for free every Thursday night while I drank my $2 beers. But every bar within 8 miles can use the Zac Brown argument because that's how the guy got started. Zac Brown is the exception, not the rule.
I gestured to the stage. "Do you think this guy is as talented as Zac Brown?"
"No, but I like to listen to music all the same."
I frowned. The more I spoke to him, the more I realized we had nothing in common. He wasn't Valdosta. I wasn't disappointed; it was just matter of fact.